May 11th, 2018 – Today Lithuania commemorates the first Respect for Taxpayers Day. On this occasion, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) has launched The Charter of Taxpayer’s Rights, taking the opportunity to highlight that taxpayers have not only duties to observe but also rights to enjoy.
“It is common in Lithuania to speak of taxpayers’ obligations and certainly not their rights. Tax authorities do not miss on threatening citizens with penalties, but they are not as diligent when it comes to guaranteeing taxpayers’ rights”, – says Žilvinas Šilėnas, President of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute.
According to LFMI, taxpayers’ rights are established yet scattered across multiple laws. The Charter explicitly outlines and explains those rights.
“We wanted to pool together an inventory of taxpayers’ rights so that people can make the most of the available means to protect their legal interests. For example, today very few taxpayers are aware of their right to plan taxes or the right to adopt a business model that allows a maximum return on investment at a minimum tax expense,” Žilvinas Šilėnas says.
The Charter lays down twenty taxpayers’ rights such as the right to an effective tax system, the right to good tax governance, the right to appeal against decisions of tax authorities and others. It provides a clear definition of each of the rights and explains their roles and legal sources. In addition, case law is drawn upon to evaluate how those rights are respected.
“Tax laws should only be adopted after a careful impact assessment and extensive public consultations. They should be consistent and leave no room for ambiguity. Only then can taxpayers be sure that they can avoid confusion and fully comply with the rules when calculating, filing and paying taxes,’’ says Ieva Valeškaitė, tax policy analyst at LFMI.
The Respect for Taxpayers Day will serve to remind the government that it is taxpayers who finance education, health care, infrastructure, social protection, etc. and their contribution to the well-being of society is to be properly honoured.
May 11th – the Respect for Taxpayers Day – became an official commemorative day in Lithuania following the adoption of a petition by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute in early 2018.
The Charter of Taxpayers’ Rights was formulated by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute in partnership with BDO auditas ir apskaita and Deloitte Legal.